Kicking Off Second Term, Gov. Evers Names Several New Agency Heads

Following the November 2022 election, three members of Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) cabinet announced they were leaving the administration. Sec. Preston Cole of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Sec. Mary Kolar of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) have both retired, and Gov. Evers has since appointed their replacements.

To lead DVA, Gov. Evers appointed James Bond, who most recently served as deputy secretary and division administrator at the department. Bond is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has spent most of his career in workforce development and veterans affairs in Wisconsin.

To lead DNR, Gov. Evers appointed Adam Payne, who has been the Sheboygan County administrator for more than 20 years. Previously, he was the executive director of the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association and spent time working at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Finally, Department of Health Services (DHS) Sec. Karen Timberlake resigned on January 2 after serving for almost exactly two years. State Medicaid Director Lisa Olson also stepped down at the end of 2022, and Jamie Kuhn has since filled that role. Gov. Evers has not yet appointed a new DHS secretary.

Last week, incoming DNR Sec. Payne announced that he would retain 11 of the 15-member leadership team put in place by retired Sec. Cole, including Deputy Sec. Sarah Barry, Assistant Deputy Sec. Steven Little, and the department’s five regional directors. The four new members of DNR leadership are:

  • Katie Grant, DNR Communications Director (replacing Sarah Hoye)
  • Ann Kipper, External Services Division Administrator (replacing Dave Siebert)
  • Diane Brusoe, Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division Administrator (replacing Keith Warnke)
  • Jim Zellmer, Environmental Management Division Administrator (replacing Gail Good)